Friday, November 10, 2006

Growing Hope - Installment 3

Carol's enclave was on the outskirts of the train depot in one of the old “reeducation camps” left over from the Rightots in 2010. It was a creepy enough place as it was, but they'd turned around and spruced it up with some bio-mechanical meets vaudeville décor. Really turned it into a horror house. Which might explain why they were so normal. They'd gone from injecting themselves with bizarre drugs and sticking even more bizarrely shaped metal objects in their bodies, to this, an exorcism of their demons. Carol had explained it to me one night over a bottle of moonshine. It was a symphony of art and light in 6 movements. The first was planting roots in the place where many of them had been born, or their parents had been sent, in the Dark Times. The second, learning their demons. Finding out the names of the silent places their consciousness never willingly went. We didn't get past the first two parts that time. She gave good head, and I don't rightly remember what she was saying between the moans.

“Burn your fucking flag, burn the pole down, and find a way to burn the concrete it's set in damnit! That country is not yours, kiddies!” came the intonations of what could only be Kenchi from a miniplayer someone had cell-bonded to a concrete wall. It was just up the block from us, playing to an empty street. Telson and I stopped and listened for a minute as he railed on about us being dipshits. “The war for this land, this air, this water was not won, kiddies. The government that rides high over your parents' corpses only succeeded in taking your minds and locking them away! We've gotten past the global warming for the most part, we've used science to clean the environment, we finally got past the issue of nuclear power. Now all we've got to do is break the patterns instilled, the patterns of fear and subservience.

“Put your ears close to the speaker. If this is beaming directly to ear canal plants, all the better. Ready?”

And without notice Kenchi released an ear piercing howl that must have come from without somewhere. This was unearthly, sounds of gears turning and cogs being ground to dust, and gnashing of teeth by netherbeasts.

“All right. I was just fucking with you,” she said and laughed one of those throaty laughs that just oozes sex from the vocal chords before it trailed off into some sort of poor display of computer voice synthesizing from the 90s.

“Must be a recording,” Telson said, rubbing his ear, teeth still lightly clenched.

“Yeah. I think from about a week ago,” I replied, then reached out my hand and vigorously rubbed the recharge pad that was on one side. It would transform my body heat and friction into usable energy. When my finger went numb, Telson took over. It was an empty street now but, who knew, Kenchi might be playing to a full house in an hour. Stranger things had happened. After we'd taken a few minutes to recharge the battery we kept walking to the enclave.

Now, to explain the enclave, you have to think of a hundred carnies doing meth for a week straight, then dropping some acid, then aurative when they'd sufficiently opened their brains and were, therefore, sufficiently in the mood to let carnie music and fairway barks become visible. Then imagine, if you will, these same carnies rambling through the north of Europe, and discovering a concentration camp. Good ol' Nazi style one. Then turning it into a show and somehow managed to attract the attention of some extraterrestrials from the abyss of our collective consciousness.

Then you might get the enclave.

Carol filled me in on the rest of the symphony later that month. I'd been sleeping with one of her roommates, and she had no one to talk to since Telson was a late sleeper. Over some tea she explained the “great process” she and her kin had undertaken.

The third movement was a renovation of the place. Built the furnaces back up, even. Shoveled out the ash from the old fires, wiped down the empty boxcars, painted over the blood stains.

Fourth. Forgave those who had inflicted this pain on their families and friends.

Fifth. Summoned and trapped their demons in every way possible. Through artwork, in objects, in computer progs. Anyway they would form during the ritual, they did it.

Sixth. Turn it into a thriving community that gave help to those who didn't get it anywhere else. Which is why we were going to Carol. They could use the conglomeration and apparatus Telson and I had constructed. They would give back, while we ran to find ourselves

The fifth had taken the longest, actually. I think it was just as difficult, workwise as the third. Emotionally, I'm not so sure. I remember seeing Carol's tear stained face for two months straight. The group almost broke apart on more than one occasion. But that's what you get when you go exorcising things that don't want to be exorcised, whether they be demons or governments. The damn things fight back. Even with all the priming from the first three movements, they almost broke.

Who knew?

We walked up to the front gates, punched the intercom and gave our names. The guard quickly released the magnetic locks and let us through with a grind and a low moan.

“Hey man,” I called to him as we walked past the house. It was Hook, one of the older guys who had been in on the project from the beginning. Before the exorcism he'd been messed up, living on the streets, shooting an opium substitute under his toenails, trying to kill his brain and the memories of this place. He'd come a long way.

“Telson and Dorse, the men with the plan. What is up?” Hook called from the gatehouse. We walked over to him. As we got closer I could see that he was cleanly shaved, something that was a new development in the last couple months. Yeah, he'd certainly come a long way. “You guys bring any of those tomatoes? You know, the vine ripened ones?”

“Nah,” Telson replied, “sorry man.”

“But, don't worry,” I piped up, “we brought something even better.” I held up a jump, a tiny rectangular prism that caused Hook's eyes to sparkle.

“What's on there?”

“Information.” With that response he couldn't help but crack a smile.

“This,” Telson started with a grin, pointing to the jump, “dear Hookie Hook, contains the plans, the means, and the instructions to run our farm.”

Hook relapsed, “Woah.”

“You said it man. 'Woah' is fucking right. We're getting out of town, leaving for the Freelands,” I replied, a grin uncontrollably growing across my face like one of our tomato plants' vines, “which is why we need to see Carol. We want to help you finish the 6th movement.”

“Got it, guys. Go on through, I'll lower the net, call Carol, and all that. Oh, and watch out for Hillfen, it's been in an even more foul mood lately.” Hillfen was one of the things wrestled from Carol's part of the collective consciousness. It symbolized her fear of commitment and lack of focus. Now it resided in a painting built from pigmented nanobots. Constant chaos, lack of coherent form was its trademark. It would speak to you if you let it, or scream in your general direction if you didn't.

As we walked across the compound courtyard I marveled for the umpteenth time at work the enclave had done with the camp. What had been a dusty expanse of land fifty meters by fifty meters, was now a park, a little piece of wilderness in the worst part of the city. It almost seemed inviting. Of course, it served two purposes. It kept the outside world out, and the inside world in. The trees, stolen from the lawns of the rich in some nearly arcane ritual that had never been explained to me, blocked the sound partially. Sonic dampeners were difficult to make on your own, and almost impossible to buy on the open market. On the black market, they were just too expensive to be within anyone's reach. It was either this or have the neighbors come looking every time the members had band practice. Or someone dropped by that Hillfen hadn't harassed in a while.

Telson and I were greeted by the hum and crackle of the grid powering down for our arrival. We didn't have the tags implanted in our skin, and the system wasn't sophisticated enough to notice biorhythms. The front door, a painted and resin carved side from one of the old boxcars, slid open as we walked closer. From the entryway I could hear my name being called.

Cross posted at Frequency23

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